[-$32,700] Debt and Work

Student Loan Update

FINALLY(!!!) I have my new account settled. Refinanced at the end of November. Earnest-Navient didn’t send out the overage refund check back to new servicer until the end of December, one month later. Then it took the new servicer until a few days ago, mid-January, to credit the check and update my account. OMG, almost 2 months?! Ugh. What were they using, the Pony Express?! In any event, it’s good to have that servicer transition over.

Oh, and I made a payment this week, which brings my balance to $32,700, down from the $35,000 I rang in the new year with. This is great, but I’m wondering if I should have held on to the cash. See below.

Work Update

This update is not a good one.      

Background Post: I Think Its Time for Me to Leave

I’m still employed, but barely. All the same issues that I wrote about before are still there.

While knowing that I skate on thin ice in the office these days, it’s been going marginally better since I last wrote about it, primarily because I’m still not on Hated Project anymore. (I was removed as the leader.) Frankly, I’ve been doing little work over the past month. This is partly because of the end-of-year / new year slow down.

However, part of this is also because Manager has been hesitant to put me on the new type of work projects. Bad sign! But I don’t blame Manager. I hate this new type of work. It’s different from what I was hired to do. I’m not good at it because I don’t like it, and I don’t like it because I’m not good at it. Unfortunately for me, almost all projects coming in are now in this new type. My days are seemingly numbered.

I’m not planning to quit without another job lined up. However, I may likely get let go, before I can jump somewhere else. I’m feeling similarities of how things went down in the last 6 months of my previous job before I got fired.  So, I’m in a race. At this rate, I doubt I’ll be able to hold onto my current job for another 6 months though.

I’ve sent out a first batch of resumes.  Unfortunately, like I mentioned last time, my industry in general is transitioning over to the new work type for my profession, so  many job ads are asking for the same crap that I’m running away from. This limits my options considerably.

The job market (in my field) is tighter than ever, my skills are no longer the latest and greatest, and I’m older. I guess I should get used to it. I made it past the phone interviews at a couple of places, but this is where things will really start to get rough. Next are in-person professional presentations and exhausting all-day gauntlet interviews.

I know now that part of the reason my previous failed attempt on the job market fizzled is because my presentations were not up to par. I spent some time looking online for other examples in my field and was blown away by what my competitor pool had to offer. It would take me several WEEKS of full-time work to even approach what these other presentations look like.

Let alone that my skills have atrophied and the basic work that I’ve been doing in recent years pales in comparison to the complex and large scale work that other competitors have to show. I feel so defeated. I don’t have the skills to keep my job and I don’t have the skills to go anywhere else. Not only that, I don’t want to spend so much time and effort trying to get a new job in a field that I don’t want to be in anymore.

I’ve started to wonder if I should just hang on where I am until they fire me or lay me off. At least then I’d get unemployment benefits and maybe even severance. I could use the severance money to take classes full-time for a while as I transition to the next career. Ugh. This is where I am now. Waiting for the axe to fall…again.

In part, I resent Newish Leader (my Manager’s manager) for joining my company and changing everything around, including changing my job into something I don’t even recognize or remotely like anymore. But on the other hand, I guess it had to happen sooner or later as my industry has been changing around me in recent years.

So yeah, with everything being so uncertain, I wonder if I should stop paying extra on my debt and hoard cash for a while.

I don’t know how to get right side up.

I feel so trapped. If I didn’t have this debt and had savings instead, I feel like I’d have more options.

These student loans are such a ball and chain in my life.

What would you do in my situation?

“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW Archives)

23 comments

  1. Barb Nadler · January 16

    I love reading your blog and I am so impressed on how far you have come. I’m not sure the type of work you do but would your employer send you to trainings so you could become more comfortable with what you ar doing now? Also it would show them you are willing to improve on a certain skill set you feel that you are behind on/don’t care for but willing to try. Just a thought to help you “buy” some time at work.

    Barb

    Like

  2. Melanie · January 16

    I am soooo curious what field you are in. I’m an engineer so I could never imagine my job completely changing but it definitely has evolved over the years. You should check out the website ask a manager . Com. Lots of helpful stuff for job hunters or people struggling at their current jobs.

    Like

    • Double Debt Single Woman · January 19

      Thanks, Melanie. I’ve heard of Askamanager! I’ve been on her site quite a bit over the years. I recommend it to others.

      Like

  3. Tainted Tiara · January 16

    Definitely hold out for severance unless something else comes along. It sounds like it’s time to make redefining your professional self your top priority. Is there tuition reimbursement at your current company or will they pay to re-train you? How robust is your emergency fund? Do you have a storm cloud fund? I would stop all extra debt payments to build that up. Worst case scenario you don’t need it and you can throw it lump sum at your debt when the storm passes.

    Hang tight, girl, you got this!

    Like

  4. Solitary Diner · January 16

    Uncertainty is terrifying, and I’m sorry that you’re going through this.

    For myself, I find one of the first steps in getting through a shitty situation is reaching a point of acceptance about what is happening. It may not be what I want, it may feel like I don’t deserve what is happening, but it is what it is. Once I’ve accepted it, at least on some level, I can work on a strategy for getting through it.

    In the short-term, I agree with Barb that looking into whether your company will send you for additional training could be a good approach. No one likes feeling incompetent at what they do, so maybe you would enjoy the new type of work more if you had additional training? This could potentially buy you time in your current position to start making longer-term career plans.

    Anyway…just my unqualified thoughts without really knowing anything about your field or your situation. Good luck with it, whatever may happen.

    Like

  5. lawrunner · January 16

    If it were me, I would talk to your manager about improving your skills. You already have a job and there are invested having you as an employee. If I were your manager, I would be impressed if you came to me and wanted to do whatever it took to update your skills and keep your job. Take some night classes. Learn online. Do whatever is necessary, because if this is the second time you are losing a job because of your skill level and you can’t compete in the job market, it’s time to make a drastic change. Don’t wait for things to happen, take charge and get better at what you do. You’ll be happier in the end.

    Like

  6. No Debt But Love · January 16

    Things may look bleak now but remember, things in life happen FOR you and not TO you. If you are let go why be somewhere you aren’t wanted? You are talented and well-equipped to succeed in whatever you put your mind to :). Determined is an understatement as you are pulling yourself out of the clutches of debt.

    Like

  7. C@thesingledollar · January 16

    So, first of all, I think you should keep paying your debt on schedule. The smaller the debt is whenever you leave this company (under whatever circumstances) the better the situation you will be in.

    Second, though, I think the other commenters are right. Ask to meet with your manager. Be open about your concerns about your abilities on the new type of project, but don’t just complain–express interest in learning skills that would help you tackle these projects. Find out if they can get you additional training. I think if you show willingness to learn how to do this stuff (whatever it is) they’ll most likely prefer to work with you rather than undertake a search in a fairly tight labor market. And worst case scenario, it might string the job out longer so that you can make more money. That’s really your priority right now: staying with this well-paying job for as long as possible. Your second priority should be improving your skills so you can compete with the newfangled people whose presentations impressed you. You can probably get both of those done together by talking honestly with your manager.

    Definitely do NOT quit the job. Hold out as long as possible, and get severance if it comes down to that.

    Like

    • Double Debt Single Woman · January 19

      Hey, C. Thanks for the advice.
      I have NO plans to quit my job, unless I somehow have a job offer elsewhere.
      I’ll consider your words.

      Like

  8. Maria · January 16

    Ugh!

    I like the others’ suggestion of asking your manager to help you update your skills. If it could help you last in your current job for a year or so until you’ve paid off your debt, it may be worth it? But maybe this new type of work, even after improving your skills, is something that would take too much of a toll on your mental and/or physical health. I may very well be wrong, but from what you’ve been writing, it sounds like that’s the case?

    If so. I would seriously consider just hanging on where you are until you get laid off (if you do get laid off). And either spend the time and money to hoard cash/pay down debt, and/or to spend some time and money continuing to take classes in the other field(s) you’ve been thinking about transitioning to. To get a head start for if/when you’re unemployed.

    Good luck!

    Like

  9. Michelle · January 18

    Way to go on that big payment to your student loan! I feel for your job insecurity, I hope everything works out well for you. If it were me, I would hold off on the big payments to your loan until your job situation is figured out. Just save the money to use for living expenses later or for a giant lump sum payment once everything has settled down. At least you have the ability to see the writing on the wall. I also agree with some of the other commenters that maybe you can talk to your boss about some professional development to increase your skills in this difficult area. You will probably never like it, but maybe a comfortable level with the skills will help you get through it until you can find something else.
    I’m so sorry that you are going through this job instability is the absolute worst. I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

    Like

    • Double Debt Single Woman · January 19

      Thanks, Michelle. I’ll consider this. I’m crossing my fingers too.
      You mentioned having questions about your own job in one of your posts. Hope you’ll write more about that. Your situation is different from mine, but commiseration is welcome. 🙂

      Like

  10. AW · January 20

    I’m sorry you are feeling the end of your job seems to be coming sooner than you had planned. I am confident you can navigate this and ultimately turn the situation into a positive.

    Since you asked what we would do here goes. Stop all discretionary spending. You often comment you eat out too much. Unfortunately it’s beans and rice at home time. Save all of that money in an emergency fund. Make only the minimum payments on your student loan and save the extra. Do try to pay as much as you can toward any credit card debt, if you still have any, assuming a crazy interest rate with cc debt. If you do not get a severance package you’ll need every penny. Unemployment benefits are a fraction of people’s actual net pay. And remember in a worst case scenario if you are fired you may not qualify depending on your state’s rules.

    Run the numbers for if you are let go. You’ll need your health insurance so add that in. Maybe you’re in better shape than you think or maybe you not. At least you’ll know.

    Approach your manager as others have suggested. While you’re interested in changing careers now’s the time to get all the training your current company will provide to prolong your time here or make it easier to get a new job in the same field if necessary. Make every effort to be interested and congenial, even though that may be the hardest part.

    Find out what, if any, retraining programs are available if you are laid off. Would you still qualify if you were fired? Does the career you’ve mentioned wanting to retrain for have programs available?. Begin to gather all of the information you can while still employed.

    If you don’t already read his blog check out Financial Samurai’s advice on negotiating your own lay off. Could prove helpful if that path becomes inevitable.

    Preparation can ease one’s mind and guide the way. It’s easier to do while a steady check is being deposited.

    Maybe there is a tax refund coming too?! Every little bit helps.

    Hoping and praying for the best for you. Still cheering you on!

    Like

    • Double Debt Single Woman · February 1

      Thank you, AW.
      Thanks for the advice. All good points.
      I just posted an update to my situation.

      Fortunately, I won’t have to use Financial Samurai’s advice. I am familiar with his blog. I used to read it but stopped doing so as I couldn’t relate to 90% of what he writes about. He lives on another financial plane of existence. Maybe when I’m better off financially, at some point in the future, I’ll re-subscribe.

      Thanks again for the cheers.

      Like

  11. DY · January 28

    I am a manager and a business owner so I’m commenting from that perspective.

    Do you like the company you work for? Could you transfer to another department and utilize the skills you do have to do work you’d enjoy more? How can you provide value to your employer in another way?

    Definitely talk to your manager about your concerns. Be positive and open to suggestions and advice. As painful as it may be to hear, use the feedback as a positive to improve yourself for you first and your current and future employers as well.

    I think the suggestions to look for ways to sharpen your skills through employer sponsored training would also benefit you.

    Dave Ramsey teaches going into storm mode when face a job loss. Stop all extra debt payment and pile up cash.

    Recognize that while you may feel your skills are dated, you still have skills that matter to employers as well as your education and work experience.
    Wishing you all the best of luck.

    Like

    • Double Debt Single Woman · February 1

      Thanks, DY.

      I just posted an update to my work situation.

      Good idea! I’ve thought about that (transferring), but the other departments are not appealing. Only one is appealing, but it requires new skills. As I’ve written about in a previous post, I plan to use this year to gain new work skills that will give me more job market options next year when I’m out of debt (or almost out of debt).

      I’m trying to balance short term pain with long term gain.

      Like

  12. zeejaythorne · February 10

    I would hoard money in your situation. And try to transfer within company if I liked the place I worked. Best of luck!

    Like

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